Your Man With the Petition: My Appeal Against Imprisonment for Journalism, 23 February 167

UPDATE The Cabinet Minister who the judges met, delaying the start of my appeal, may have been Dominic Raab, Lord Chancellor and Justice Minister of England and Wales. Raab was in Edinburgh that day discussing with the Scottish Government the Tory plans to ditch the European Convention on Human Rights. What Lord Justice General Carloway said was that the hearing was delayed because the Scottish Government had called to set up an unscheduled meeting with a cabinet minister. We had all presumed he meant a member of the Scottish cabinet; perhaps not.

Secondly, my former QC John Scott has been in touch to say that he had no doubt that my sworn affidavits were accepted as evidence in the case, and that was the outcome of his discussions on the matter with the Crown. As I said below, I had found the Crown’s assertion to the contrary baffling.

Both these points highlight the extraordinary fact that there is no official recording or transcript of the court proceeding and the public were excluded. Our offer to have a transcript taken and produced at our own expense (as is done by the Assange legal team at his hearings) was also refused.

I should stress that this is not unusual; we were told it is the rule that there are no recordings or transcripts of such proceedings in Scotland. So what happened is whatever the judges say happened, and there is nothing that can be produced to prove otherwise. The more I go down the dark hole of Scotland’s legal system, the more it stinks.

26 February 07.13 END OF UPDATE

Today I was the “petitioner” as my appeal was heard in Court No. 1 of the Court of Session by the nobile officium. This sounds like something from Harry Potter, perhaps an annex of the Ministry of Magic, but is actually the Scottish legal system’s appeal court of last resort.

Here I sat very much as a last resort, getting through the last required hurdle before I can appeal to some judges at Strasbourg with no part in the Scottish Establishment.

Five judges presided, headed by Lord Carloway, the bulldog-jowled Lord Justice General. To his left sat the tall figure of the kindly looking and bespectacled Lord Woolman, and further left Lord Matthews, who looked so strikingly like an old drinking friend of mine from Dundee, that I kept being disconcerted it wasn’t him. To Lord Carloway’s immediate right was Lady Paton, a bright-looking lady, who had an air of intense concentration and took copious notes. On the far right, the bench was completed by Lord Pentland, very engaged, constantly leaning forward, moustache bristling, as though itching to do all the talking himself. Which from time to time happened.

All wore Gilbert and Sullivan costumes and long wigs that looked frightfully uncomfortable. I felt for them.

Proceedings started one hour late. Lord Carloway opened by apologising to the court. The case had been delayed, Lord Carloway stated, because the bench had received unexpected intimation from the Scottish Government that a cabinet minister was coming to see them on an important matter. They had therefore had to delay and meet the minister before starting the hearing.

That is what Lord Carloway said. I faithfully report it. He did not say the cabinet minister’s visit had any connection to my case. He did not say it had no connection to my case. It might have been about judicial appointments, refurbishing courts or covid restrictions, for all I know. Urgent enough to cause an unscheduled cabinet minister to dash, and justify a delay to the hearing.

Roddy Dunlop QC, Dean of Faculty (which is a big deal among Scottish lawyers, head of the profession) then arose to present my case. Dunlop has a delivery of relentless logic, driven home by piercing blue eyes, but disconcertingly has a haircut which must entail going into the barber and saying “Cliff Richard circa 1963, please”. Dunlop’s horsehair wig has to perch behind the quiff.

Dunlop had been planning to speak for two hours, but interruptions from the bench were in the event so constant that he spoke for well over three. I published the written submission he had put in, and do urge you to read it – it is more entertaining than you might imagine. I shall not repeat here points he made from the written argument, except where necessary to explain a judicial intervention.

He opened by saying that this was a unique case. We knew of no precedent in Scotland for a journalist ever having been jailed for contempt of court. He then went on to say nice things about me, detailing my diplomatic career and positions I had held of great responsibility. He said that I had become a whistleblower, revealing terrible abuses of torture and extraordinary rendition, and in that respect had given evidence in person before committees of the Westminster Parliament, European Parliament and Council of Europe.

The bench looked to me particularly unimpressed by this; I am not sure they like whistleblowers.

Roddy Dunlop went on to say that I was a journalist, who had published articles in many mainstream media newspapers, but whose output was mostly published on my blog. That did not however make me any less of a journalist. I was fulfilling the role of a “public watchdog” on matters of public interest, as defined in judgments by the European Court of Human Rights.

I had a genuine belief, which I still held, that Alex Salmond had been the subject of a plot to prosecute him on false charges, and I had an article 10 right under the European Convention on Human Rights to publish that, as a matter of the highest public interest. That had to be the starting point for considering this case.

Both Lord Carloway and Lord Pentland queried whether I could be considered a journalist. Dunlop said that the ECHR case he quoted specifically included bloggers as enjoying the same protection as “public watchdog”.

Dunlop then argued that the test of strict liability in the Contempt of Court Act applies exclusively to publication of information which could interfere with a trial; it specifically does not apply to breaching an order on identification, where on the contrary there has to be an element of wilful disobedience of the court. He cited the Act itself and several cases.

Lord Carloway interjected that the act of publication was itself a deliberate act. That was the intent. Dunlop replied that there was no dispute that the articles were deliberately published; but that was not the same as that they contained intent to identify.

Lord Carloway queried whether this could be true even when the articles were obviously identifying.

Dunlop said yes, intent was crucial. Otherwise, if for example a protected complainer stated that they had been assaulted in a taxi on a certain date, and subsequently someone posted the taxi receipt online as routine public accounting for expenses, that person would be liable for jigsaw identification despite having no intent.

Lord Matthews asked how the court could know if the receipt had been posted maliciously.

Dunlop then moved on to the second ground of appeal, that the court should not have disbelieved the evidence given in my affidavit without cross-examining me and giving me a chance to answer questions on which they had any doubt. He described this as necessary to a fair hearing and natural justice.

Dunlop referred to Lady Dorrian’s judgment, which stated that evidence in my affidavit cast doubt on my claim to have no intent to reveal names. Dunlop stated that was far from a finding beyond reasonable doubt that I had intent to reveal names. The judgement had therefore not found intent to the criminal standard required in law.

Lord Carloway said the Court had no evidence before it that my affidavit had ever been accepted by the court as evidence at all. There was no joint minute to that effect, and there should have been. Dunlop said that indeed it would have been better if there were a joint minute, but that could hardly be held to be the petitioner’s fault. Lord Carloway asserted twice more that there was nothing before him to indicate my affidavits formed evidence in the case, and Dunlop repeatedly asserted that plainly they were evidence. Not to cross-examine was the Crown’s choice.

Dunlop said I had given this evidence by affidavit, as was frequently the case nowadays. My senior counsel had then informed the court that I had nothing to add but was available to answer any questions from Crown or Court. Lord Carloway said that offering to answer questions was not the same as submitting to cross-examination. Dunlop said it was the same. Lord Carloway said no it was not; I had not entered the witness box. Dunlop said that there had been no witness box: it was one of the early virtual hearings, I was not in a courtroom, and that may be some of the cause of procedural confusion.

There was then a slight break while I confirmed to Dunlop that counsel had said I was present (virtually) to be questioned by Crown or Court, and both Prentice and Dorrian had stated they did not wish to ask questions. Dunlop confirmed with Crown senior counsel Alex Prentice QC that this was indeed what had happened.

Carloway then said that witnesses were often not cross-examined in civil cases; it did not mean their evidence was accepted. He added that evidence “may be so manifestly untrue as not to require cross-examination”.

I recall Lord Pentland as saying this, but my notes say Lord Carloway. Either way, I had the distinct impression they intended this to convey their opinion of my own affidavit as “manifestly untrue”, and viewed it as closing the question.

Dunlop seemed somewhat thrown by the relentless negativity from the bench and the suggestion that my affidavit was so manifestly untrue as not to require cross-examination. He concluded that it remained his submission that, where the defendant faced imprisonment, they had a right to have doubts put to them, for them to give an answer that may change the view of the court.

Lord Carloway replied that the Crown’s scepticism of the defendant’s affidavit had been fairly put in the Crown’s written submissions.

Dunlop then moved on to the third ground of appeal, that the court had adopted too narrow a test in finding that identification had taken place to a section of the general public, such as work colleagues, whereas the correct test in the Act was to the general public, the public at large.

Lord Carloway said that it was obvious that the complainants were all close to the former First Minister; therefore very little extra information could identify them and great care should be taken. What if, for example, the parliamentary committee had been able to identify them? Would that in Dunlop’s opinion be a sufficient test?

Dunlop replied it would not. The parliamentary committee were not the general public, and had a great deal of other information available. Dunlop stated that my difficulty had lain in explaining what had actually happened in the Salmond trial, and what Salmond’s defence was, while still protecting the identities, as I had explained in my affidavits.

Carloway replied that the mainstream media appeared to have no difficulty in covering the trial without publishing identifying information. Dunlop said that he would question that. The mainstream media published similar information to the petitioner. Dani Garavelli in particular had published a great deal of identifying information. Yet none of these were prosecuted.

Dunlop had said the unsayable. The judges had all displayed simultaneous physical reactions to this, which in the nearly empty courtroom was particularly noticeable.

Lord Carloway said that Dunlop had said this case was unique. That was because the mainstream media knew how to avoid committing contempt. That is why there were no instances of the mainstream media being prosecuted for jigsaw identification. Lord Pentland reiterated that the reason no mainstream media were prosecuted was because they understood the law.

And at this point we broke for lunch.

After lunch, we reverted to the question of whether I ought to have been cross-examined before being disbelieved, on which Dunlop had found another precedent, which plainly said so, during the lunch break. Lord Pentland stated that it was common practice for a witness not to be cross-examined and then for their account to be dismissed as incredible. Lord Carloway said that it was frequently the case in criminal cases that complainers were not cross-examined by the defence on the grounds their evidence had no weight.

We then went back to the question of what was the proper test for identification. Lord Woolman observed it was “a tricky one”. He asked Dunlop what then the proper test should be? This struck me as the first open question asked of Dunlop, not phrased in terms of overt hostility.

Dunlop replied that the proper test should be whether, in combination with material that was already fully in the public domain, somebody had wilfully published the last piece of the jigsaw in order to enable identification.

Dunlop went on to give two examples. In the first, he stated that in their open and public opinion on whether my petition to the nobile officium was eligible, the court had stated that I published that a complainer had been nominated to a named parliamentary constituency. This was inaccurate. Had I published that, and had the complainer in fact been nominated, we accepted it would indeed have run a grave risk of identification to the general public. What I had in fact published was that she had been – unsuccessfully – seeking nomination. That fact was not available to the general public and only known to a small number of people within her own party.

I cannot explain the second example Roddy gave without repeating information Lady Dorrian found to be identifying. It was of a similar nature in relating to information only a very small number of people would know and which the public could not find. Lord Woolman asked how this was squared with google. Dunlop replied that information of the class he was describing was not available to a google search. Dorrian was therefore in error in finding it to be identifying.

Dunlop then moved on to his fourth ground, that of the article 10 right to freedom of speech. Dunlop said that this case represented the biggest single interference with freedom of speech in the modern history of Scotland. There was simply no precedent for jailing a journalist like this. Somebody with no criminal record and a history of public service, fulfilling a public watchdog role, had been jailed for eight months. Despite having a heart condition and a weeks old baby.

Lord Pentland intervened to say that this could be because there was no precedent for the committing of such a large contempt. It was also in the unique context of the Salmond case, in which there was unprecedented public interest and therefore unprecedented need to protect the complainers. That would explain the unique consequences.

Dunlop said that to jail a journalist must be necessary in law and consistent with democracy. The law must also be foreseeable. It was impossible for a journalist to know what pieces of the jigsaw might be known to a small group of people, and therefore to know if he was providing the last piece. Lord Pentland replied that was why extreme care must be taken. Dunlop said the care could become so extreme as to have a chilling effect which made any effective reporting of sexual assault cases impossible.

Dunlop then moved on to his fifth ground of appeal, that many of the identifications found by Lady Dorrian had never been alleged by the Crown or mentioned in proceedings; so the defence had no chance to rebut them. This was heard in comparative silence.

The Crown then opened, and Alex Prentice QC, a dry and inoffensive man, spoke very briefly. He said that the Crown had already set out its position in its written submissions (I am told I am not allowed to publish these). The Crown had alleged intent against me and the court had plainly found intent, so the question of strict liability did not in fact arise.

Lord Pentland came in to help Prentice by suggesting a precedent case to him, not in the bundle of authorities, which indiicated intent was not required. Pentland asked if that case might be useful to support his assertion that there was no need to prove intent. Prentice agreed, and said “we” had been discussing that very case over lunch. It was not plain to me who “we” were.

On the question of my not having been cross examined, Prentice stated that he had personally held a number of meetings with my then QC, John Scott, to discuss evidence. These meetings were covered by confidentiality, but the crown had “certain concerns” about my giving evidence. It had therefore been agreed between the counsel that my affidavits would be entered, and I would not be cross-examined: but this did not mean that my evidence was accepted.

I was much startled to hear that.

Prentice stated that on what was the correct test for identification, the Crown had alleged that I had embarked on a publication of a course of articles designed, when taken together, to reveal identities to the general public. This was accepted by the court and no question therefore arose. Furthermore the Crown had alleged that, taken together, all of the complainers were identified by all of the articles combined. It was therefore not necessary for the Crown to have cited each individual example of identification.

Lord Pentland said that contempt of court was a summary procedure anyway so there was no need to consider these questions.

Theoretically what happened next was that Dunlop had a chance to rebut. However he was so interrupted and overwhelmed by the bench, that my notes at this point seem to consist almost entirely of what the judges said.

Lord Pentland said that Dunlop had claimed it was unique for a journalist to be jailed, but the circumstances of the Salmond case are unique, and it was essential that the identities of complainers in sexual assault cases be protected, for fear of deterring other victims from coming forward.

Dunlop said we had always accepted that, and the Salmond case was also of unique public interest.

Lord Pentland said that we were looking at a course of conduct by a person who Dunlop had stated was a highly educated man who had held responsible positions. But these were aggravating factors not mitigating factors. He said that the need to protect identities had been stressed to the public and reiterated “Mr Murray’s previous positions of responsibility are an aggravating factor in his conduct”.

Dunlop cited an ECHR ruling which stated that journalists should not be imprisoned, except in extreme circumstances such as hate speech or incitement to violence. In this case, the appropriate punishment would have been a fine.

Lord Pentland said that this case was analogous to hate speech and incitement to violence; and my sustained campaign to reveal the identities of these women could indeed have incited violence or social media hate against them. Dunlop said no such thing had happened and there was certainly no such intent.

Lord Matthews said that the protection quoted in the ECHR case extended to investigative journalism and this was not investigative journalism. It said this applied to press offences, but was this a press offence? Was I a journalist?

Lord Woolman asked whether, if I could be called a journalist, did that mean just anybody could be a journalist who published on social media?

Dunlop replied, anybody who was fulfilling the role of a public watchdog, according to the European Court of Human Rights. Lord Pentland said that particular judgement appeared to refer to NGO’s rather than individuals. Dunlop said it specifically included bloggers. Pentland said he thought it mainly meant NGO’s but they would look at it.

Lord Carloway said that it was not plain this was a press offence. In mainstream media cases, the contempt was always acknowledged and an apology proffered. However in this case, a key factor in the sentence had been my “total and utter lack of remorse”, which continued.

Dunlop said it was my position that I had not intended to identify anybody. Lord Pentland said that it was common practice for sentences to be increased for lack of remorse from those who insisted on protesting their innocence after conviction.

Dunlop said my position was that I never intended to identify anybody; I had attempted to protect identities and I believed I had succeeded in that. Nobody had in fact been identified. But I would indeed be very remorseful if identification had occurred. Carloway asked, in a tone of incredulity, if we were saying that nobody had been identified as a result of my articles. Roddy Dunlop said that was indeed what we were saying. There had never been any credible evidence that identification had occurred. Carloway said he would find that most unlikely.

And that was it.


That is my best shot at a fair description of today in court, leaving out anything said that could identify a witness in the Salmond case. It is of course my perception, and a distillation of a full day, and in the circumstances I can hardly be unbiased. It is not my fault the court excluded the public from attending and so limited your access to other perceptions.

We will get a written judgement in probably around a couple of months. Of course judges can be testing an argument or playing Devil’s advocate. But my honest perception was of real hostility from the court. I think you will find the above is a fair guide to what the judgement will say. My perception is that judges’ hearts were worn on sleeves today.

The attempt to claim that my affidavits have never been accepted as evidence in the case is chilling.

My affidavits, of course, state the grounds of my belief that not only was there a plot against Alex Salmond, but that the politically corrupt Scottish prosecutorial system was a part of the plot. They list the documents I had seen, in the possession of the Crown and which the court refused to disclose, that led me to understand the plot. They name Salmond’s accusers and explain their roles (which part I have never published), and outline the roles of Peter Murrell and Sue Ruddick. The links to Nicola Sturgeon are outlined.

It is therefore unsurprising that the Crown had “serious concerns” about my evidence and did not want to cross-examine me in public and give me the chance to justify it.

It is more surprising that there is now an effort to claim my affidavits do not form part of the case at all. Carloway stoutly maintained they were not evidence. When we go to the European Court of Human Rights, those affidavits will be seen by judges who are not a part of the Scottish establishment. But if the affidavits were never evidence in the case, then they cannot be presented at Strasbourg.

How the judges can maintain my affidavits, given under oath, were not evidence I do not know, especially as they are repeatedly referred to in Lady Dorrian’s judgement. How could the court judge evidence which did not exist? I have never had any expectations from this court, but this is a key point I shall be looking for in this judgement.

I am afraid that I am going to have to renew my appeal for funds to help with the legal costs. Fighting these kinds of actions is simply crippling. Your dedication to freedom and support have so far saved me from personal bankruptcy, but we now need to raise a further £80,000 immediately – of which we readers have very kindly donated over half since I made the renewed appeal two days ago.

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167 thoughts on “Your Man With the Petition: My Appeal Against Imprisonment for Journalism, 23 February

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  • Ruth El Heri

    I think they’re setting you up to fail in the ECHR. I believe your case will be looked at initially by lowly lawyers and in my experience some who may be affiliated with UK intelligence.

  • Ian

    When you think that your threshold for astonishment has been reached in this case, Craig continues to provide evidence that you don’t know half of it. More surreal Hogwart’s version of the flummery and obfuscation that defines our ‘noble officials’, all acting in concert.

    The sudden appearance of a government minister to delay the hearing by an hour is highly revealing. There is no routine meeting which would have delayed a hearing, therefore we can conclude that there was some measure of panic that the appeal might go the ‘wrong’ way, and that they judges needed to be ‘advised’ of policy on Craig and ways of spiking his case had to be devised.

    What are the chances that so many judges would agree, while also disdaining with great contempt the detailed, closely argued case for appeal? What are the chances that none of them understand the shift in media and that many journalists use blogging as an important outlet for their work? Blogging is just publishing. What the are the chances that all of them think that ‘mainstream’ journalists, like Garavelli, can provide enough information to identify one of the women, but that’s ok because they are ‘responsible’ journalists and would apologise if caught out? Why do none of them, despite their education, expertise in law, the trappings of a high court, wigs and gowns, show any respect for the law itself – which the defendant and his lawyer have to coach and remind them of? Had they respect for the law they would listen, take the case seriously and provide detailed reasons for their deliberations, instead of the discourteous, dismissive contempt for evidence and reason, not to mention precedent.

    They really don’t like Craig, and not just for his political beliefs. It is entirely possible to not believe his theory around a conspiracy against Salmond while still taking seriously his case for freedom of speech and belief. Instead they take refuge in cheap shots about ‘intent’ which they profess to know better than Craig – betraying the same apparent psychic abilities as Dorrian to know what was going on in his head. At the same time these psychic abilities allow them to see that mainstream journalists who betray the women’s identities are well-meaning upstanding chaps, so that’s ok for them.

    I thought the law was neutral as regards character and focussed on provable actions and evidence. Silly me. What has obviously got their goat is the commendable transparency of Craig in publishing his affidavits and appeal, his court reporting and his willingness to do what any democracy should, by allowing citizens to determine and assess the quality, accountability and merit of their judicial system, and whether it is politically influenced. They really hate the light of day being shone on their practices and most of all their arguments, which are exposed as weak and prejudiced and which taint the entire Scottish justice and political system. More power to him.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Had they respect for the law they would listen, take the case seriously and provide detailed reasons for their deliberations, instead of the discourteous, dismissive contempt for evidence and reason, not to mention precedent”.

      Craig reports Lord Carloway as saying that ‘… a key factor in the sentence had been my “total and utter lack of remorse”, which continued’.

      That seems to show that, in Lord Carloway’s opinion, Mr Murray was certainly guilty. In which case, what was the point of the appeal?

      It seems to me that the law must be inconsistent, at least logically. Is Mr Murray deemed guilty as of now, because Lady Dorrian found him guilty and sentenced him to prison? Presumably he must be. So what if the appeal were successful, and he were to be found not guilty all along?

      Would he then have been not guilty now? Or would he have been guilty in Lady Dorrian’s court, guilty now, but not guilty later when the appeal succeeded?

      We have definitely entered the world of Schroedinger.

      • Ian

        Well of course you would have an utter lack of remorse if you hadn’t actually done what was alleged. How can you feel remorse over an action not performed? It seems that this Gilbert and Sullivan farce decrees that you must show remorse, a grovelling, humiliating acknowledgement of your sins, even though you have not sinned, in order to satisfy the high and mighty. This is exactly the same religious self-righteousness which decreed that women deemed satanic must demonstrate the purity of their soul, in of course an impossible to perform way, to prove they weren’t witches. Craig is in the same bind, condemned to the stocks for daring question the grand wizard and their accomplices by not showing guilt for his non-crimes. We have regresses to the 16th Century and the Witch Trials. How ironic that it took another 400 years for the self-righteous to change their mind on that, while continuing to practice the same earnest pomp and ceremonial denunciation of the unbelievers and refusers to kowtow to the state religion.

  • Jon

    Minor point of order in relation to legal donations, Craig. One of the things I’ve noticed for your legal funds in the past is that people might be encouraged to donate if they can see others donating. People may also be inclined to make a second donation if the pot is nearly at its target. The present solution of bank account doesn’t give us this visibility.

    I’ve used in the past and would recommend their platform (I have no connection to them other than as donator). The only minor down-side is that it collects pledges, and people’s payments are only taken +if+ the target sum is raised. Setting a low initial target and then adding a stretch targets is possible though.

    • Tatyana

      I would not worry about the pot being over-filled. All extras, if any, can be re-donated to charities, that hardly be seen as any law violation.
      Compare this to current Navalny’s case. As a lawyer he knew well he cannot stand as a president candidate, still he established a fund for presidency. Now 4 people who donated significantly sue him for fraud. As the money were spent on personal luxurious ‘pretty small things’.
      Though I admit Navalny will last as a freedom fighter in your eyes, rather than a financial fraudster as he is.

    • Margaret McGowan

      I agree with that entirely. I have been searching find how much has been donated so that if the target has not been reached I will dig deep and donate more – but could find no reference to the current amount. I thought Crowdfunding [or similar] had been used in the past so why not now? Do they take a large percentage / are there other reasons?

  • Crispa

    I am puzzled. If the Affidavits were not seen or accepted as evidence what status would they have in the proceedings given that Lady Dorrian made extensive use of them in paragraphs 65 – 70 of her judgment?
    If they did not count as evidence, but were clearly referred to – in prejudicial terms – by the judge, it could have then been better not to have made any submissions at all, which is like saying “don’t bother to defend yourself, there is no point and it will not make any difference to the outcome”.

    • Tony L

      This is where I am confused. Craig suggested that IF his affidavits were not formally accepted these could be used in Strasbourg, BUT if the judgement makes reference to them, surely this is de facto an admission that they WERE accepted in the case and therefore MUST be available for a hearing in Strasbourg.

      Can someone with more legal knowledge than me shed some light on this?

      • craig Post author

        I think the situation is that we will submit them in at Strasbourg, and the Crown will respond at Strasbourg that “they are inadmissable because they were never part of the case: see the nobile officium judgement says so”. It would then be for Strasbourg to decide.

        • squirrel

          I’m confused too

          Surely there is a distinction between accepting evidence as evidence before a court, and accepting it as truthful evidence.

          And by saying your affidavit was ‘manifestly untrue’, a judge would be by implication confirming the acceptance of it as evidence before a court, as TonyL says.

        • John Cleary

          Craig, this is all becoming depressingly familiar.

          When I applied to the ECHR I submitted TWO claims.

          The first was the original Anglia Television crime.
          But the second was for the theft of my London apartment. (That’s why I ask Mr Reid the question about the consolidation of the two claims.)

          Shortly thereafter my claim was “considered” by three magistrates of the court. They ruled that I must be completely rejected and expelled from consideration, but they were at claims to stress that they had not read anything of my submission at all, and that in any case they had not seen anything untoward!

          I know. Ludicrous.

          Even more ludicrous, shortly thereafter the ECHR changed its rules to make sure that I could never get back in again. Check it out for yourself. The timing.

          What caused them to freak out?

          Well, the theft of my flat is very easy to prove

          But it is where it leads that matters. It leads to an affidavit just like your own.

          Unfortunately the European Court of Human Rights is as hopelessly corrupt as the rest of the corrupt European superstructure.

          I know from my own documented experiences that everything in Europe is hopelessly corrupted. The Commission, the Council of Ministers, the Parliament, the Council of Europe.

          The only one I am missing is the OSCE. And the Russian Federation is in the process of demonstrating just how corrupt is that august body (at senior levels).

          So we have a Full House!

          When it comes to the ECHR, don’t get your hopes up mate.

  • Mist001

    Politicians come and go. Alex Salmond and now Craig, find themselves embroiled in a state of affairs which goes far beyond anything Nicola Sturgeon could cook up. It’s too big for her. I think the entire affair is completely out of her hands and someone else is making the bullets and getting the Scottish (and likely beyond) legal system to fire them.

    As an aside, there is one man in the SNP whom I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw him and I’ve suspected for a long time that he is the MI5/State plant and he has the ear of Nicola Sturgeon. I’ve mentioned his name before elsewhere but I won’t mention it here and I should add, that I say this without any proof or evidence to the contrary. I’ve based my opinions simply on what I have seen and read for myself.

  • Neil Donaldson

    Dear Craig,
    I hope things go well with your appeal. I’ve added a small donation, sorry it could not be more but my future employment prospects are currently uncertain. Good Luck and my best wishes to you.
    Kindest regards, Neil Donaldson.

  • John Monro

    You write very well, Craig, you could turn your hand to writing a TV series or novel of a political/legal drama – it’d be fiction of course, but you wouldn’t have to alter the facts very much to get the desired result.

    So the “minister” just happened to come along and delay your hearing. ¡Qué casualidad! Why didn’t your QC directly ask the judge if this meeting was anything to do with your hearing? Surely, that would have been an appropriate question, because if it was, that would have been a direct political interference, and would have meant that the hearing would have to be postponed and new panel of judges appointed. Of course the judge would have expostulated that he wouldn’t be able to reveal the nature of the conversation, but your QC could have then said that this reply is not satisfactory, and he’d be taking the matter further.

    You know, if we were to hear the truth of what goes on behind the scenes, if we could devise some magic eavesdropping device or construct a fly on the wall using nano-technology, government would be impossible, because not a single citizen would ever believe a single word any person in any sort of authority would ever say again.

    We are fortunate that a great literary figure, Franz Kafka, has given his very name to exactly what you have been experiencing. Perhaps pertinent to his writing, and pertinent to this blog, was that he trained as a lawyer. So we don’t need to write anything other than one word, Kafkaesque ,to describe the whole experience you’ve undergone and written about so disturbingly.

    So nothing changes, we know from anthropological study the human beings are basically kind and cooperative, that’s how we survived, but as soon as any measure of power is achieved, humanity becomes is as stupid and mean and ridiculous as it has always been, as is being played out with yet more death and destruction in Ukraine at this very moment.

    I am 75 years old, and I am now suffering a serious existential crisis, a profound melancholia, that is proving very difficult to deal with, in regard to a wider world that is to me insane, delusional, yet my personal safety and health is not threatened. I don’t know how you’ve coped all this time, Craig, you have displayed a fortitude that is remarkable, yet at times you must wonder what this is all about. Your wife and new family must be so precious at this time. Keep well. .

    • Jimmeh

      Re. the delay to the start of proceedings, because of an urgent ministerial interriuption:

      > Why didn’t your QC directly ask the judge if this meeting was anything to do with your hearing?

      That would presumably be John Scott QC, who Craig says is no longer his QC (if I read that right). It sounds like Scott has fumbled this; but perhaps the outcome was predictable, whoever the QC was and whatever he said or did.

    • Tom Welsh

      “…government would be impossible, because not a single citizen would ever believe a single word any person in any sort of authority would ever say again”.

      Funny you should say that…

  • Paul Cunningham

    All of this unfairness shows that the justiciary is not politically impartial. Many readers of this blog might agree with me there. But I fear that, at the moment, millions, probably a substantial majority of the population, would not agree. In fact most of them will buy the fiction that courts, monarchy, Police and army are ‘non political’. Most are blissfully unaware not only of what has happened to Craig or what it means, of what is happening to Julian Assange or of anything that Assange lifted the lid on. Decades of economic growth and the expansion of credit has given rise to a population that, for many of them, have a standard of living never previously known. So long as the majority of the working class have plenty to eat and money to spend or debt that they can juggle with, the ruling class remain safe. The Establishment is safe so long as you can dumb down the population with McDonalds, Kardashians, Queenie, gutter press, Rangers, Celtic etc…but also with wages, pensions, health care and so on.

    That situation is changing. Not all is rosy for the boss class. The prospect of a population beginning to wake up is shown in the demand for Scottish independence – a break up of the British state. The brief recent surge of youth into the Labour Party that propelled the short lived left-wing leadership under Corbyn is another sign that must have temporarily but at the time considerably disquieted the ruling class. Look at how swiftly Starmer, their puppet, was supported when Johnston broke ranks by mentioning the failure of the CPS under Starmer to prosecute Jimmy Saville and the policy of going after journalists. Now, with food banks all over the place, huge numbers of very poor people, the ongoing privatisation of healthcare, the disaster for trade that Brexit entails, energy prices about to go through the roof, Ukraine…its all very bad news for capitalism and it creates the prospect of large swathes of a hitherto slumbering population that will awaken under the continuing pressure of increasing poverty now and in the future.

    But the working class population needs a leadership on their side and that they do not yet have. The leaders of the SNP I fear are as rotten as the leaders of the Labour Party ever were. So all of that is why I think that, for the moment, most of the masses are simply unaware of the attempt to frame Salmond and why it was done, unaware of what was done to Craig and what that means for the so-called democracy in which we live. I think that as this society continues to decline and life for millions becomes ever more precarious, more and more will come to realise, for example, that you can’t rely on courts for justice. I hope that the conclusions drawn in due course by the population will be radical and that the society that ultimately emerges will be Socialist.

  • Jimmeh

    “Certain concerns” – that’s a weird bit of this story. Your *former* QC had meetings with the prosecution team, apparently in your absence and without your knowledge, and agreed that it wouldn’t be good if you were questioned in court. I wonder if this has anything to do with John Scott no longer being your QC.

    The Prentice, Pentland, “we” lunch business sounds rather fishy too. I know that lawyers talk together out of court. Adversaries in court are drinking buddies out of court. But was any of the “we” sitting on the bench?

    Anyway, it doesn’t sound as if it went well today, in the sense that you got a favourable judgement. But maybe it went well, in the sense that they’ve laid-out another trail of judicial bias and unfairness for the ECHR to look into.

    What a horrific legal system. Really.

  • Mark Sharkey

    Why the hell do they need two months to write up their views? Do they think ever so slowly?
    The same really with the drawing out of the never ending legal process for Julin Assange.

    • Wikikettle

      Keep strong Craig. You have the financial support of many people around the world for your stand for free speech and telling truth to power.

  • Fwl

    What was the basis for the reported confidentiality in respect of the discussions between counsel?

    When you report that it was said that your affidavits would be entered but that did not mean that they were accepted and that you were surprised to hear that does that mean that (a) they were not accepted as true or that (b) they were not accepted as actually being in evidence. If (a) then that doesn’t seem surprising (unless your counsel thought he’d agreed otherwise). If (b) that would seem surprising for why else would he have agreed that they should be put in / entered as evidence in that way?

    • craig Post author

      I was very surprised it had been agreed between my QC and the Crown there would not be any questions so I would not get to say anything. My QC had persuaded me, much against my own view, not to add further to my oral testimony to my affidvaits. I agreed specifically on the basis I would answer questions on them. I had no idea that it had been cooked up with the Crown that there would be no questions (if Prentice’s account is true).

      • Ingwe

        If you’re right on what you say, that your counsel agreed something with the other side’s counsel which you had not authorised or of which you were unaware, than that is a matter that should be referred to the Bar Council (or equivalent body in Scotland).

        Not that I hold much hope that this part of the ‘old boys’ network will actually do something but you should, at least, go through the motion. If what is alleged is true.

        • squirrel

          I once knew someone who had a similar experience with QC in Scotland in a banking dispute. The QC tried to suggest he take a hopeless defence. My friend resisted. “What price integrity?” my friend asked. “A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” came the response.

      • Fwl

        So you thought your affidavits were accepted in as evidence in chief and that you would be cross examined on them (unless the prosecution agreed them as true, or indeed had no wish to ask any questions and would just make submissions on them).

        I don’t know what the process is with a contempt hearing but presumably if a defendant wishes to say something he should be entitled to do so. After all the defendant’s liberty is at stake and nothing could be more basic than having the right to say things in evidence at one’s own trial. However, if the affidavits were to stand as evidence in chief then that was you in effect giving your evidence and the Crown don’t have to ask questions / cross examine.

        It seems odd to me that when considering whether to commit a person to prision a Judge, who has not heard from the defendant, would not feel that they should at least ask some questions of the defendant’s unless of course the defendant decided he didn’t want to answer any questions.

        Surely most judges might consider that if the defendant hasn’t given oral evidence and if the Crown haven’t asked the defendant any questions then they haven’t really got the measure of him. Therefore, the most natural thing would be for the Court to want ask some questions itself to get a feel for the defendant.

        Who would want to send a man to prison without hearing him speak (unless he didn’t want to speak).

      • Fwl

        So you thought your affidavits were accepted in as evidence in chief and that you would be cross examined on them (unless the prosecution agreed them as true, or indeed had no wish to ask any questions and would just make submissions on them).

        I don’t know what the process is with a contempt hearing but presumably if a defendant wishes to say something he should be entitled to do so. After all the defendant’s liberty is at stake and nothing could be more basic than having the right to say things in evidence at one’s own trial. However, if the affidavits were to stand as evidence in chief then that was you in effect giving your evidence and the Crown don’t have to ask questions / cross examine.

        It seems odd to me that when considering whether to commit a person to prision a Judge, who has not heard from the defendant, would not feel that they should at least ask some questions of the defendant’s unless of course the defendant decided he didn’t want to answer any questions.

        Surely most judges might consider that if the defendant hasn’t given oral evidence and if the Crown haven’t asked the defendant any questions then they haven’t really got the measure of him. Therefore, the most natural thing would be for the Court to want ask some questions itself to get a feel for the defendant.

        Who would want to send a man to prison without hearing him speak (unless he didn’t want to speak).

        If the affidavits are somehow said not to have been put in evidence then that is very odd particularly if they were relied upon in the judgment.

  • Suzanne Burrall

    The criminalization of journalism that holds power to account is rampant. It is our duty as citizens to restore our freedoms and prosecute real criminals.

  • squirrel

    In the Douglas Adams book “Dirk Gently’s holistic detective agency”, there is a computer program called “Reason”.

    Instead of being a decision-making program, it works backwards, giving a reason for a decision that the user already wishes to make. It is used by government agencies and others.
    The character who wrote the program says that he wrote a decision-making program, but no-one wanted it.

    I didn’t realise how profound this was when I read it years ago

    • Fwl

      Dirk Gently was great. Every employee facing an internal disciplinary or capability or a redundancy selection process believes that the decision comes before the reasons / process. We routinely denounce countries where law is obviously politicised. We hope that in the U.K. judges accept that although they have human hunches and intuition about cases and where they are going they will still objectively follow the facts even if that leads them to uncomfortable conclusions and they have to reverse from their initial assumptions.

      If we don’t have fearless judges we don’t have the rule of law. At the end of the day judges must fearlessly follow the facts to try and do justice. So cases with a political dimension are interesting.

      Maybe we need a Spiral type judicial TV series.

    • Clark

      Squirrel, 07:47

      “Instead of being a decision-making program, it works backwards, giving a reason for a decision that the user already wishes to make. It is used by government agencies and others.”

      All people do this, usually without being conscious of it. It is called rationalisation.

      It seems to me to be evolutionarily inevitable. Our motivations came much earlier in our evolutionary development than did our ability to reason, so our reasoning abilities are dependent upon our motivational systems, rather like a computer application program is dependent upon the underlying operating system. By default, therefore, reasoning acts in service to motivation, providing plausible excuses and justifications for what we already feel like doing or did.

      This is the most depressing realisation I ever came to. I can’t trust anyone, not even myself!

      • Giyane


        On the other hand , we could forget evolution and decide that we have been given left and right brains, which are thankfully speeded up by the intellect of the heart.
        AI can only do logic so it will never be as good as us. On the other hand, without a heart, or conscience or morality, it might do incredibly evil things, however intellectually logically perfect.

        Messrs Biden and Blinken have been putting squinting down their telescope and not seeing any of their own aggression but seeing only foreign aggression. This is not evolutionary, this is half-witted, literally , not using their commonsense.

        Chokdaw Bridge. Billy Joe McAllister. It was the 3rd of June , just a sleepy, dusty day etc. After dismissing the possibility of the boy’s suicide because of his daughter’s rejection, her father says ‘ pass the biscuits please. ‘ A straight refusal ever to consider any emotional consequences.

  • John Cleary

    Hello Craig,

    Don’t want to be downbeat, but I want you to be aware of my own experiences in the ECHR.

    Here’s part of the story

    K M Reid Esq
    C/ Eusebio Navarro, 12
    35003 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 
    ECHR No 24316/03             Spain 

    2 September 2003

    Dear Mr Reid,
    Thank you for your acknowledgement of 25 August 2003 and for the confirmation that my application is in hand.

    While I have your attention, might I seek clarification on a couple of your comments? First, you refer to a single case number. Can you confirm that my two separate applications have been completely consolidated into this single case reference number? Second, you raise the issue of timescale – “as soon as practicable”. Since the speed with which you are able to act will largely be determined by the degree of cooperation on the part of the United Kingdom authorities, I should perhaps give you some context.

    The last time I received income in any form was in May 1994. I was able to survive on my savings for the first two years, but for over seven years now I have survived on charity. This persecution is the formal policy of the United Kingdom under the Treason Felony Act of 1848, and is designed to end my life – ideally by my own hand. The United Kingdom has on at least six occasions sought to end my life by more direct, violent means.

    So you see it is wholly in their interests to carry on with the same delay, obfuscation and prevarication that have been their trademark throughout these last nine years and three months.

    Yours sincerely,
    John Cleary

    Ps        Can I burden you further with the information that I will travel to England tomorrow, 3 September, and will return, God willing, on 24 September. During my stay I will at no time “seek to put any constraint upon her” and expect my privacy to be respected. Whatever happens I ask that you pursue this to the end. God Bless.

    Enc        Lord Chancellor to John Cleary delivered 28 July 2003

  • terence callachan

    I wish I knew who the Scottish Minister is who was sent to speak to the judges .
    Knowing their name might explain what was so important it held up court proceedings.

  • Joe Mellon

    I am quite simply shocked by the extent of the brass necked injustice displayed here.
    It would be shocking in a DJ shock jock, from a bench of 5 of the highest judges in the land it is beyond belief.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Lord Pentland said that this case was analogous to hate speech and incitement to violence; and my sustained campaign to reveal the identities of these women could indeed have incited violence or social media hate against them.”

    I’m utterly flabbergasted by the above.

    This as well is unbelievable, especially in your case.

    “Lord Pentland said that it was common practice for sentences to be increased for lack of remorse from those who insisted on protesting their innocence after conviction.”

    As for a Scottish government minister rushing in to speak in private, lets just say their hand has been behind the scenes all the way through this from having you barred from reporting on the rest of the Alex Salmond fit up, and I suspect right up until the day of your appeal. You’ll find no solace in a Scottish courtroom

  • Fred Dagg

    RT is now back online after nearly c16 hours of DDoS – you are now greeted by a Cloudflare screen. Ahhhhh, bless! – all the emotionally/psychologically/sexually(?) inadequate Cold War “warriors” at GCHQ, NSA et al fail. Kaspersky’s real-time Cyberthreat map ( has been listing Russia as the #1 attacked country for quite a while now.

    In other news, the “He’s as mad as a box of frogs” narrative has exploded around the globe to “explain” Putin’s “irrational” decision to attack fascist Ukraine. Well, even if one ignores all the history of The West-USSR between 1917-1991, imagine a Cuban-inspired coup in Mexico that brought a (potentially) nuclear-armed foe to the US border. Do you really think that the US would have waited 8 years before “exporting democracy” to its southern neighbour? If you do, then, as a character in the original Die Hard film exclaims,: “Wake up and smell what yoe shovellin’.”

    • Rhys Jaggar

      I had it available for an hour earlier this morning, now it is down again. Amusingly, when RT was available, Mr Murray’s was not. As soon as RT was down again, Mr Murray’s was back up.

      Does this imply the current state of diplomatic relations between Mr Murray and Vladimir Putin’s Russia?

  • A Gray

    I’ve made a donation equivalent to the law society membership. I’d much rather fund you. I’m astonished at the tone of the hearing and the apparent lack of interest in seeking the truth. PM if you want me to do any research for the ECHR case. I’m sure there are other lawyers also willing to support you pro bono.

        • Fred Dagg

          First, a correction: CM stated that John Sweeney was “…a proper journalist…”, not “…an honest journalist…”. Apologies.

          Second, I posted a link to a documentary made by TR that revealed that JS’s methods were so unprofessional (he was attempting a hit-job on TR for a Panorama episode that was consequently never shown) that he was sacked by the BBC.

          Finally, in our era of comprehension manqué, I am reluctant to assume that you will understand the distinction between pointing out professional incompetence/corruption, on the one hand, and support for the victim of this professional incompetence/corruption, on the other. I will therefore state that I could care less than a flying f*ck about either JS or TR – what I do care about is corrupt news media (and personnel).

          Everything clear now?

      • Tom Welsh

        A serious shortage of objective, dispassionate commntary – yes. I have The Saker and Andre Martyanov, little else. I never glance at the UK mainstream media lest I be blinded or sickened.

        Nevertheless, you must concentrate on your own legal battle. You are fighting for freedom of speech, on which everything else depends. More strength to your arm.

        • Dom

          I bet Craig welcomes being bracketed with a revanchist Russian imperialist outlet like The Saker. It is about as objective and dispassionate as Paul Mason or Jonathan Freedland on the other side.

      • Ridas

        No, I don’t think there is a shortage of “commentary on Ukraine” (with exception of silent Russian media…). But I would be eager to hear your stance on the issue. Also, I felt a lack of respect in your response. I start regretting my previous financial donation to your fund…

  • Alex Cox

    Something I do not understand. A jury found Alex Salmond innocent of the accusations made against him. In other words, his accusers lied and committed perjury.

    Is perjury legal under Scottush law?

    • squirrel

      I would guess for finding that the accusers committed perjury there would have to be a trial for such. There isn’t an automatic finding.

    • Chichi Latté

      I think the idea is that given the evidence presented, the jury wasn’t convinced the accusations were true. Doesn’t necessarily mean they perjured themselves. Though obvs it’s quite possible.

      Also, if this is the real Alex Repo Man Cox, love your work ?? Thoroughly enjoyed yr JFK book recently.

      • squirrel

        Scotland does have two verdicts in favour of the defendant, ‘not guilty’ and ‘not proven’, the ‘not guilty’ carries a stronger implication of innocence. Salmond was found not guilty on 12 charges and not proven on 1 charge

      • Tom Welsh

        Surely if the jury were not convinced that the allegations were true, they had the verdict of “not proven”. For all but one of the charges, however, they found Mr Salmond “not guilty”.

        Logically, I can see no alternative to the conclusion that some, at least, of the accusers must have lied. Saying that they were in one place, for example, when overwhelming evidence showed that they were far away at the time.

        But, as Mr Murray’s article demonstrates, there is still a huge amount of latitude for judges not to notice, or not to believe, evidence that looks conclusive to you or me.

  • Robert Dyson

    “But these were aggravating factors not mitigating factors”. This has been in my mind since reading your report. This implies to me that the mind of the judge is already made up that you are guilty of deliberate identification; it does not fit with an unbiased review of the case. In any case for me “responsible positions” is an indication that your are a responsible person, circumstantial evidence, as your lawyer intended and as any sensible person would interpret it.

    • Giyane

      Robert Dyson

      Aggraggating factors because Craig Murray would not keep his mouth shut and insisted on lifting the lid on Ms Sturgeon’s taste for caviar and the Raj colonial high life.

      Hang on , that’s cannibalism. I’m never going to get away with writing that. Anyway in Alum Rock last week a young Muslim man shot another young Muslim man dead, for which the punishment in Islam is Hell fire.

      Instead of telling the assembled community at Friday prayers what the punishment is, the imam says this has upset two families. Why did he self-gag? Because for the ongoing British Raj in Syria and Libya and Yemen, the Muslims have killed and made destitute millions of Muslims who were previously living life.

      David Cameron supported the Nazis in Ukraine. Where is he now? Oh yes , sitting in his gypsy caravan. What was Lady Dorrian doing while Craig Murray was struggling to sleep on an iron bed covered by a dirty plastic sheet? Oh yes, swanning around Edinburgh having successfully covered up Westminster’s disgusting plot to jail Alex Salmond and stitched up the expoaer of the plot

      Nice, innit, this smug silence of the ruling elite?

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